Innovative Ministry

Innovative Ministry
6 Reasons Many Pastors Don’t Need An Office Any More
For most pastors, a desk in an office is one of the least creative spaces imaginable.

The pastor’s office is a time-honored tradition whose moment has come and gone for a lot of us.

Over the last 35-plus years of ministry, I have spent thousands of hours in my office. Joyful, frustrating, heartbreaking, boring, wonderful, life-changing hours. Hours spent ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
Pastoral Transition: Why Change When You Don’t Have To?
It’s not how we act when things stay the same that tests our strength and character, it’s how we act when things change.

Yesterday, I was back in my home church after being gone for a month doing conferences and taking some vacation time with my wife, Shelley.

We’ve taken time away before, of course, but this time it was different. Because when I came back yesterday, for the first Sunday ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
5 Ways Your Church’s Impact Can Become Bigger Than Its Footprint
When we equip the saints, the church’s impact can grow exponentially, even if its numerical or geographical footprint doesn’t grow noticeably.

Small churches can have a big impact.

Especially today, with the power of social media and other new ways of communicating.

But also, because so much of our lives are lived online, people are having a renewed longing for more personal, tactile, face-to-face experiences. These ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
Innovation Or Insistence? There’s More Than One Way To Reach Your Goal
If your usual door won’t open, be willing to try other doors. In most situations, innovation is often the best, most overlooked option.

Imagine a hallway full of doors, all of which lead to the same destination.

All your life, you’ve seen people go through one particular door, so you use it, too. But one day you try to go through that door and it won’t open for you.

What do you do?

Insistence says, ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
Leading A Church Through Difficult Times: A Lesson From “The Most Bombed Hotel In The World”
After almost 2,000 years of attacks from without and within, the fact that the church continues to not just survive, but thrive is nothing short of a miracle.
Leading A Church Through Difficult Times: A Lesson From “The Most Bombed Hotel In The World”

Leading a church is often a lesson in managing and overcoming frustration. Hopefully not all the time. But there are those seasons...

This week I’ve learned a great lesson about triumphing over extreme difficulty and frustration from a very unlikely source – a hotel ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
Innovation without Compromise: 5 Church Leadership Lessons from the Life of Billy Graham
Billy Graham's life and ministry is proof that taking a strong stand for the truth of the Gospel does not have to push people away.
Innovation without Compromise: 5 Church Leadership Lessons from the Life of Billy Graham

(Today, Billy Graham went to be with Jesus. I wrote this article three years ago. I repost it here now as my tribute to the man and his legacy.)

Most of us have never known a world without Billy Graham.

Graham came to international prominence in the historic Los Angeles Crusade ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
The Pastoral Transition Zone: Catching God’s Timing For Your Church And Ministry
When you give church members the gift of time and respect, they’ll go with you to some exciting places.

God’s timing is perfect.

When he does something in our lives unilaterally (as in, he doesn’t ask for our permission or cooperation) his timing is often quick, surprising and sometimes painful. It’s only when we see those events in the rear view mirror that we ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
Why Smooth Pastoral Transitions Matter More Now Than Ever
In previous generations, the denomination, the church building, and family expectations had such a strong hold that it virtually didn’t matter who the pastor was.

For many generations, people who went to church would attend every Sunday no matter what. Whether out of habit, culture, tradition, denominational identity, fear of reprisal, or a sincere commitment to Christ and his church, when the doors were open, they were going to walk ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
Quit Trying To Fix Sunday School – Until You’re Sure You Should Have It At All
We need to ask better questions, then do whatever ministry answers those questions in the best possible way.

As I talk with pastors and other church leaders, one question that pops up regularly is “it’s getting harder to get people to lead and/or attend our Sunday School classes (or Sunday night services, or prayer meetings, or VBS, or…). How do we fix this problem, ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
Why I Won’t Be The Lead Pastor At Cornerstone Any More – But I'm Not Leaving
Pastoral transition is one of the most dangerous times in a congregation’s life. We need to get better at it.
Why I Won’t Be The Lead Pastor At Cornerstone Any More – But I'm Not Leaving
Image: Karl Vaters and Gary Garcia, by Mari Vega

Hi, I’m Karl, and I’m still a small church pastor. But I won’t be in the first chair much longer.

On Sunday, my long-time youth pastor, Gary Garcia and I presented a plan for him to become the lead pastor of Cornerstone. I will stay on staff at the church, assuming ...

Continue Reading ...
Include results from Christianity Today

Read More from Karl

Follow Christianity Today

Free Newsletters

More Newsletters ...